The Teeth and the Comb|My essay solution

Posted: February 26th, 2023

Omar Alomar’s “The Teeth and the Comb” is an interlinked series of very brief, miniature stories about everyday objects. How does this author use these non-human, usually immobile things to make comments about human society? How can the teeth of a comb provide us with a parable about our own democracy? Why the choice of a comb as a symbol? What are some other objects that Alomar selects for this symbolic treatment and what “comments” do they make about us?

While Alomar is busy personifying objects (that is, giving them human attributes), Pascale Petit’s poem does the opposite, in a sense. Why might Petit pay tribute to her mother not only by comparing her to an Amazonian warrior, but also the Amazon rainforest and river? We generally believe that comparing a human being to a non-human thing is a downgrade, but can it be uplifting as well?

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SOLUTION

Omar Alomar’s “The Teeth and the Comb” is a collection of very short stories, each of which focuses on a different everyday object. By giving these non-human objects human-like qualities, Alomar is able to use them to make comments about human society. For example, in the story about the teeth of a comb, Alomar uses the comb as a symbol for democracy. The teeth of the comb are all different sizes and shapes, but they must all work together in order to be effective. This is similar to how a democracy works, with people of different backgrounds and beliefs working together for the common good.

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